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Forum topic by MSGhandmade posted 11-18-2016 05:25 AM 975 views 0 times favorited 24 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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MSGhandmade

19 posts in 404 days


11-18-2016 05:25 AM

Topic tags/keywords: spoon spoon carving whittling christmas

I have just recently joined this message board but have been reading for a few years off and on. I started carving spoons about 4 years ago right when I met my wife, I wanted to make her something and we both love cooking. I have since been hooked on making spoons (pun intended for you green carvers) Every year since, around this time of year I get asked to make spoons for Christmas gifts but I haven’t felt like my skills have been up to par to sell. I am starting to feel more confident and upgraded my tools recently, and a small boutique has taken notice and they also want some of my spoons in their shop. The question I am posing is how to price them?
A spoon can take me anywhere from one sitting to weeks or even months to finish, I generally work on them to fill time between projects or a quiet night whittling in front of the wood stove. What I am trying to say is I am not making them fast or for a quick buck, I want people to appreciate them and use them for a long time, but I don’t want to underprice them and sell too fast that I can’t keep up with the demand. Hopefully you guys have some insights for me because I don’t even know where to start.

Michael S Graham


24 replies so far

View Underdog's profile

Underdog

1051 posts in 1874 days


#1 posted 11-18-2016 01:52 PM

One place to start is by posting a couple pictures and giving us an idea how long it took to make each one.
The main thing you have to figure out though, is how much your time is worth?
Once you know that, and how much time it takes, then you’ve got a good start.

-- "woodworker with an asterisk"

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clin

751 posts in 835 days


#2 posted 11-18-2016 11:04 PM

Just work backwards from what you want out of this. If this is supposed to be for actual income, even if supplemental, how much an hour do you want to make, how many hours does it take to make them, add on expenses like materials and wear and tear on your machines. Then add on some actual profit beyond just making an hourly wage.

If that works out to $500 a spoon, you probably should just give up on the idea of making money.

On the other hand, if this is just an enjoyable hobby, and you’d practically give the spoons away anyway, then perhaps just pick some value that will help pay for the hobby.

If demand is higher than you can keep up with, just raise your price until demand drops to meet your production.

As they say. “If you don’t lose some sales because your price is too high, then your price is too low.”

-- Clin

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Aj2

1178 posts in 1637 days


#3 posted 11-19-2016 04:12 AM

Artisans that make soap.Use wooden spoons I know this to be true because I’ve bought one from a store that sell fancy soap and supply’s to make soap.The one I bought was beech and I paid 20 I think.They had fancier ones made from olive wood I think they were about 35.
I like have a wood spoon in the kitchen along with my maple cutting boards.
Unfortunately it’s one of those things that gets mass produced like wood bowls and cutting boards.So theirs no money in them only a simple pleasure to make one.

Aj

-- Aj

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Greg the Cajun Wood Artist

381 posts in 781 days


#4 posted 11-19-2016 04:27 AM

You need to visit a few craft shows with artists that sell wood spoons and spatulas. Most shows have at least one person making and selling them. This would give you a good starting point at comeptetive pricing.

-- Wood for projects is like a good Fart..."better when you cut it yourself"

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MSGhandmade

19 posts in 404 days


#5 posted 11-19-2016 07:34 PM

Here are a couple I made, I have a few one the go right now but don’t have photos of them all on my work computer. As far as how long they take I said in the original post anywhere from one sitting to over a month I never rush it, it’s not the same as framing a house or making furniture to me, time doesn’t factor.


One place to start is by posting a couple pictures and giving us an idea how long it took to make each one.
The main thing you have to figure out though, is how much your time is worth?
Once you know that, and how much time it takes, then you ve got a good start.

- Underdog


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MSGhandmade

19 posts in 404 days


#6 posted 11-19-2016 07:36 PM


You need to visit a few craft shows with artists that sell wood spoons and spatulas. Most shows have at least one person making and selling them. This would give you a good starting point at comeptetive pricing.

- USAwoodArt

I was hoping that would be helpful but so far at all the craft shows around here the only wood working is shelves, stuff made from pallets and the odd cutting board. I think I might email some people I have seen making spoons online and pick their brains

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MSGhandmade

19 posts in 404 days


#7 posted 11-19-2016 07:39 PM



Just work backwards from what you want out of this. If this is supposed to be for actual income, even if supplemental, how much an hour do you want to make, how many hours does it take to make them, add on expenses like materials and wear and tear on your machines. Then add on some actual profit beyond just making an hourly wage.

If that works out to $500 a spoon, you probably should just give up on the idea of making money.

On the other hand, if this is just an enjoyable hobby, and you d practically give the spoons away anyway, then perhaps just pick some value that will help pay for the hobby.

If demand is higher than you can keep up with, just raise your price until demand drops to meet your production.

As they say. “If you don t lose some sales because your price is too high, then your price is too low.”

- clin

It definitely isn’t to supplement my income, if I were to make money from making spoons it would go back into my shop and tools. The only tools I use are a couple gouges, a knife, a card scraper and sandpaper. No machines in this process. I think I might just give them to friends and family, and see what this boutique thinks they would sell them for, I think the owner has seen spoons at other shops and that’s why she was excited to bring mine in. I appreciate your reply though it is very helpful for other aspects of woodworking

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MSGhandmade

19 posts in 404 days


#8 posted 11-19-2016 07:41 PM



Artisans that make soap.Use wooden spoons I know this to be true because I ve bought one from a store that sell fancy soap and supply s to make soap.The one I bought was beech and I paid 20 I think.They had fancier ones made from olive wood I think they were about 35.
I like have a wood spoon in the kitchen along with my maple cutting boards.
Unfortunately it s one of those things that gets mass produced like wood bowls and cutting boards.So theirs no money in them only a simple pleasure to make one.

Aj

- Aj2

Thanks Aj I am going to have to look more into this artisan soap making thing, to see why they need spoons and maybe that would be someone I would look to cater to.
Cutting boards, bowls and spoons are mass produced but I know many people who spend big money on the same stuff handcrafted, especially cutting boards. I think it has to go to the right people, someone who wants heirloom quality, not throwaway wood products.

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Jim Finn

2577 posts in 2761 days


#9 posted 11-19-2016 10:48 PM

The short answer is…... “Whatever the market will bear” Trial and error will give you the answer.

-- No PHD, but I have a GED and my DD 214

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Stevedore

70 posts in 1864 days


#10 posted 11-19-2016 11:35 PM

Etsy has a bunch listed; you might check them out & see what you think of their quality & pricing.

-- Steve, in Morris County, NJ

View mike02130's profile

mike02130

167 posts in 511 days


#11 posted 11-20-2016 12:40 AM

Keep in mind that if a store sells them they’re going to double the price. That may mean that you have to lower your price.

I feel for you, it’s a tough game. Everyone one wants a deal and cheap. Doesn’t matter if it’s a spoon or a table saw. Say you split a log, shape a chunk and carve a spoon, fifty bucks an hour multiplied by your time equals how much?

Paul Sellers has a blog post somewhere about people wanting cheap. Robin Wood—a carver—has an interesting post that may help answer, or at least ponder your query. Sorry I don’t have the link.

Btw, I’d be interested in what tools you use. I’m in the market for an axe.

-- Google first, search forums second, ask questions later.

View ClaudeF's profile

ClaudeF

518 posts in 1546 days


#12 posted 11-20-2016 01:29 AM

If I’m making cooking spoons for friends and family, I use three tools: Band saw to rough out the blank, 1/2 inch ball Kutzall burr in my Dremel to hollow out the bowl, 3 inch sanding drum to shape the outside of the bowl and the handle. Currently have a 16 inch spoon with a 1 inch thick handle sitting on the shelf waiting for me to have time to sand the inside of the bowl – Son wants it for making big pots of Jambalaya. I don’t think I’d ever attempt to sell any spoons – I can make more $/hour carving Santas, and even there, I couldn’t live on what I make carving. There are way too many imported spoons that are cheaper than the cost of wood.

Having said that, if you want to sell hand-carved wood spoons, go for it! The suggestion to look at ETSY is a good one. Here’s a link for you: https://www.etsy.com/search?q=carved+wood+spoons&order=most_relevant&view_type=gallery&ship_to=US

Claude

-- https://www.etsy.com/shop/ClaudesWoodcarving

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Ripper70

614 posts in 747 days


#13 posted 11-20-2016 03:29 AM

Hard to say what you could expect to fetch for a hand carved spoon without knowing more about the process and the time involved. To say it could take one sitting or a month or more to finish doesn’t put a fine enough point on it. How many hours is a “sitting”? For a spoon that takes weeks or months to finish, I have to assume you’re not spending all those hours working exclusively on that one spoon.

Your work looks quite good and the materials appear to be first rate. What did it cost you for the wood? What does tool maintenance/replacement cost you? It seems as if you’ve been doing spoon carving because is a labor of love. Once money becomes the focus, your feelings for the process might change. On the other hand, if introducing a few power tools to your process can expedite your production, maybe you could crank out enough of these to fill a shelf in some boutique somewhere and put some decent coinage in your pocket.

Taking your hobby to the next level will require some cold hearted calculations to determine just what your time is worth in dollars. If that leaves a bad taste in your mouth, just keep making them as gifts for friends, family and loved ones. They’ll appreciate them more than you can imagine and you can’t put a price on that.

-- "You know, I'm such a great driver, it's incomprehensible that they took my license away." --Vince Ricardo

View Boxguy's profile

Boxguy

2463 posts in 2106 days


#14 posted 11-20-2016 04:36 AM

A guy I met makes wooden spoons. This is how he describes his process. He told me….

If you want to make money carving spoons, set your shave horse on the sidewalk in front of the passing crowd. Start carving blanks that you have bandsawn out ahead of time. Offer to carve a spoon for people who pass and say that you will make the handle fit their hand and carve the bowl end to suit them (have some examples on hand for them to choose from).

Try to keep your time under 25 minutes, 15 is better. Charge them 35-40 dollars for a custom made spoon made while they watch. When business picks up hand out cards numbered 1-10 and get their cell number and a non-refundable deposit. When you are ready to start on their spoon, give them a call and ask them to show up. Start making the bowl.

Make the cards large and hang them up so others can see which one you are working on now. Hang up a sign that says you will be here again on say Wednesday at 3:00 and will make another ten spoons then. If you make a good spoon work efficiently and have a good location, say in a restaurant district, people will start to show up.

Have a few spoons on hand to sell on the spot for say 30 dollars. During busy times a helper will let you keep working while people watch. If ten spoons is too much work, just make 5 and go back home. It is a grind, but if you want to make money working with your hands you have to expect that. Too much business, raise the price.

You might trade a long spoon to the kitchen for permission to use their sidewalk. Find out what spoon they want and start working on that until you get another customer. Next week give them the finished spoon and set up shop. One spoon, two visits. People who work in the kitchens often like to have their own wooden spoon for use at home and are perspective customers.

I don’t know if it works, but that is what he told me as I watched him work.

-- Big Al in IN

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MSGhandmade

19 posts in 404 days


#15 posted 11-20-2016 04:48 AM



Keep in mind that if a store sells them they re going to double the price. That may mean that you have to lower your price.

I feel for you, it s a tough game. Everyone one wants a deal and cheap. Doesn t matter if it s a spoon or a table saw. Say you split a log, shape a chunk and carve a spoon, fifty bucks an hour multiplied by your time equals how much?

Paul Sellers has a blog post somewhere about people wanting cheap. Robin Wood—a carver—has an interesting post that may help answer, or at least ponder your query. Sorry I don t have the link.

Btw, I d be interested in what tools you use. I m in the market for an axe.

- mike02130

Yeah Mike, the store works on a 60/40 split so I am sure they would want to up the price too. I think I have read the Paul Sellers post, or at least a handful of his posts on spoons learned a lot from his blog actually. I will look up the Robin Wood one thank you for the tip.
For other wood stuff I generally charge 45$ an hour more or less but I don’t know spoons are different like I said I have never sold them that’s why I have this dilemma.
My axe I found leaned up against the house I used to rent and the landlord said I could have it, I rehandled it and gave it some TLC, I can’t remember the make its older and German I believe, and my hatchet is the same older German, garage sale find.

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